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The Autobiography of Dr. Alexander Carlyle of Inveresk
Chapter XIII - 1766-1768 AGE, 44-46


IT was this year, in the month of August, that Dr. Robertson having solicited me strongly to be of a party to the west country with him and the Honourable James Stewart Montague, who was then attending the College of Edinburgh, and lived in his house, I could not set out on the same day with them, but followed in the end of the week, and got to Dr. Wight's, at Glasgow College, on Saturday, where I remained all next day, having got a little cold. He had now been for some time in the house allotted to his office, which, though one of the old ones, was convenient, and had several apartments, so that he could have room for two or three boarders. His youngest sister had now been with him for more than a year, and they lived very comfortably, which she, though but just turned of twenty, managed very well. I remained with them all Tuesday, and next day got to Caldwell (Baron Alure's) before dinner. We went next day to Lord Glasgow's, where we were joined by Mr. Oliphant, afterwards Postmaster, who, with Baron Mure and Alexander M'Millan, Esq., W.S., were Lord Bute's commissioners or trustees for the management of his estate. We had rode through a very hilly part of Renfrewshire to Kelburn, Lord Glasgow's seat, finely situated on the Clyde, almost opposite to Bute, about five or six miles distant, where the expanse of water is finely broken by the two islands of Cumbray, the first of which is not more than a mile distant, while the channel for ships sailing up or down the Clyde lies between that island and the shore of Cunningham. We were very late of dining for that period, when the usual hour was two o'clock, but we sat long enough after dinner to loosen out landlord's tongue, who, being in general a reserved and silent man, partly through modesty and partly through flat spirits, yet, after a long repast, became not only open and free, but truly eloquent. Baron Mure, though a very sensible man, was yet too great. a friend of Lord Bute's to hear William Pitt extolled to the skies, which Lord Glasgow had casually done; on which Mure made some tart remarks. This fired his lordship, who gave us a panegyric at last on Mr. Pitt's character and administration, with as much force, energy, and eloquence as that great man himself could have done, had he dealt in panegyric. His lordship was beginning to flag, and his audience to tire, when luckily we were called to supper. Robertson whispered me, in going to the dining-room, that his powers had perfectly astonished him. The presence of the ladies put an end to our political debate. We passed next day with his lordship, when we had such another exhibition in the evening. We agreed among ourselves, that had it not been for his invincible modesty, which debarred him from ever entering the drawing-room at St. James's, where he was sure of a good reception, for he had been wounded at the battle of Fontenoy, he might have made a very conspicuous appearance in the House of Lords. He was now the Lord High Commissioner to the Assembly, and was a great favourite with us, not merely for his obliging manners and improved entertainment at his table, but for his attention to the business of the house, and his listening to and entering into the spirit of every debate. His lordship did not attend us to Bute, to which we sailed next day. [John Boyle, third Earl of Glasgow, of whom what was heretofore known is so scanty as to give much value to this sketch. - J.H.B.]

We remained six days in Bute, and passed our time very agreeably. Alexander M'Millan was one of the best landlords for a large company, for he was loud and joyful, and made the wine flow like Bacchus himself. We passed the mornings (which were not so long as now, for they extended only to two o'clock, when dinner was on the table) in riding about the island, which we found very beautiful, though but little cultivated; for besides a plantation around the house of Mount Stuart, of very fine trees, of a square mile, every little cottage had a dozen of trees around it. A Lady Bute, while a widow, had got them planted in every kailyard, as their little gardens are called, and they make a pleasing ornament. There is nothing like a hill but on Lord Bannatyne's estate on the north-east, where it is separated by a narrow strait called the Kyles of Bute. Rothesay, where stand the ruins of the old castle which gives a ducal title to the Prince of Wales, as it did anciently to the Prince of Scotland, is a finely-situated port, and has thriven amazingly since that period. We had to take an early dinner one day, and ride down there to be made free of the burgh, which cost us a hard drink of new claret. Mount Stuart is truly a fine place, with a charming view of the islands and opposite coast. The soil everywhere lies on seashells, so that they have the means of improvement at hand; and being in shape like the convex of a Roman shield, where the rain cannot lie, seemed everywhere capable of tillage. What was done about Mount Stuart and Rothesay gave great encouragement. We went to Kingarth Church on Sunday, where I lectured and Robertson preached. There are three parishes in the island, in two of which the ministers must have the Erse language.

Our conversation at table was liberal and lively, as might be expected where there were so many sensible men; for besides our company there were several other very able men, particularly a Mr. Dunlop, a son of the Greek Professor's, at Glasgow, who was remarkably knowing and good-humoured. The wine was excellent, and flowed freely. There was the best cyprus I ever saw, which had lain there since Lord Bute had left the island in 1745. The claret was of the same age, and excellent.

After we had been four days there, Robertson took me into a window before dinner, and with some solemnity proposed to make a motion to shorten the drinking, if I would second him—"Because," added he, "although you and I may go through it, I am averse to it on James Stuart's account." I answered that I would willingly second whatever measure of that kind he should propose, but added that I was afraid it would not do, as our toastmaster was very despotic, and, besides, might throw ridicule upon us, as we were to leave the island the day after the next, and that we had not proposed any abridgment to the repast till the old claret was all done, the last of which we had drunk yesterday. "Well, well," replied the Doctor, "be it so then, and let us end as we began."

We left the island on the day we proposed, I in a boat, for Port-Glasgow, with the Postmaster, Oliphant, as we could not join the rest to pass two days more at Lord Glasgow's (Kelburn) on their return, as they had promised. We got very rapidly to Port-Glasgow in the customhouse yacht, and to Glasgow on horseback early in the evening, where he visited his friends, and I remained with mine at the College that night and all next day.

I was Moderator of the Synod this year. Webster having made it fashionable for even the Moderators of that court to give handsome suppers, it cost me five guineas; but there being very few who could afford such expensive repasts, after having gone through six or seven of us, this entertainment ceased, and the Moderators of the Synods were contented with small committees and meagre suppers, as they had been heretofore, and Webster, of course, absented from them.

In December this year we made another journey to Newcastle, Mrs. Carlyle being absolutely necessary to her sister when she lay in, or was at all ill. Blackett was but a dull man, and his cousin, Sir Walter B., no better, though rich, magnificent, and generous. The company about them were not very agreeable; some of their bucks had humour, but they were illiterate and noisy. Two or three of their clergy could be endured, for they played well at cards, and were not pedantic. John Withrington was then almost the only man who had any literature. Mr. Moyse, a clergyman, was now master of the grammar-school, and being able and diligent in his profession, soon made a great change on the young natives of Newcastle; insomuch, that soon after there issued from it several distinguished characters, such as Mr. Chambers, a judge, I think, in India, or a professor of law at Oxford; and the two Scotts, Sir William and his younger brother, the Chancellor of England. [Viz., Lord Stowell and Lord Eldon.--J. H. B.] Dr. Akenside was also a native of that town, and had studied physic in Edinburgh in the years 1744-5. As he was of low descent, his father being a butcher, he stole through his native town incog. as often as he had occasion to pass, and never acknowledged his relation to it.

(1767.)—This year nothing remarkable happened for several months. In the month [of August], Mrs. Carlyle not being very well, we went in our open chaise to visit our friend Mr. Alexander Glen, at Galashiels, with our friend Dr. Wight. I had been there before, but Mrs. Carlyle never had, and was much delighted with the amenity of the place, as well as the kindness and hospitality of our landlord, who was not yet married. We visited Melrose Abbey to gratify Mrs. Carlyle. The fine pastoral stream of Gala falls into the Tweed a mile below the church and village, from whence four miles down the river stands the famous abbey of Melrose, the exquisite beauty of whose ruins is well supported by the romantic scenery around it. About a week before we arrived here, a waterspout had fallen into the mountain stream Slitterick, which joins the river Teviot at Hawick, which occasioned a great alarm there; had broken down a bridge which joined the town to a street where the church stands; had ruined a mill on the rivulet, and drowned one of the millers, and threatened the whole town with inundation; but as it had come down in the night, it abated early in the forenoon.

This phenomenon, so uncommon in this country, excited our curiosity, and were solved to proceed to Hawick to see the effects of it. Mr. Glen gladly accompanied us, Wight and he being great companions.

We set out in the morning, after an early breakfast, that we might reach Hawick some time before dinner. We had given notice to Laurie, the minister there, that we would dine with him and stay all night; which information was necessary, as there were so many of us, although the fashion of men's sleeping in the same bed together was not yet at an end. After we passed the Tweed, near Selkirk, where the delightful streams of Ettrick and Yarrow fall into it from the fine pastoral valleys or glens which run parallel to each other to the summit of the country, the scenery was by no means interesting. Selkirk was then a very paltry town, and the fields around it very poorly cultivated, though now there is a very different face on both. Hawick is beautifully situated, and though but an ill-built town, very much resembles the famous city of Bath in its situation, being a close warm-looking nest in the midst of surrounding hills, all but the openings made to the south and north of the town by the beautiful river Teviot, which runs within a quarter of a mile of it, and whose clear untroubled stream, except when great rains descend, glides gently by, and like a mirror reflects the adjacent pastoral scenery. We visited the devastations made by Slitterick, which falls from the mountain in a tremendous torrent into Teviot, which was quite unmoved, as the two channels lay at right angles from each other.

We passed the day very pleasantly with Laurie and his wife, who was an old acquaintance of Mrs. Carlyle's when they lived at Langton, the next parish to Polwarth, where she passed her infant years. Wight rallied Laurie not a little for his having delayed calling the people to prayers on the morning of the inundation, till he saw from his garden the flood a little abating; and then continuing so long in prayer (for a full hour), when it had fallen so much that a man on horseback could pass below the mill, which the good people ascribed to the fervency of their pastor, and would have continued to believe in the efficacy of his prayer, had not the surviving miller assured them that the inundation had fallen six inches before the church-bell rang. Laurie was perfectly pleased with so much address being ascribed to him, though he lost a little in the article of interest in heaven which was imputed to him.

Laurie was an uncommon character. Dr. John Armstrong and he were at college together, and one year, during the vacation, they joined a band of gypsies, who in those days much infested the Border. This expedition, which really took place, as Armstrong informed me in London, furnished Laurie with a fine field for fiction and rhodomontade, which was so closely united to the groundwork, which might be true, that it was impossible to discompound them. After Armstrong had settled in London for some time, Laurie went to visit him about 1739 or '40; on that he founded many marvellous stories of his intimacy with secretaries of state and courtiers, with whom he pretended he had been quite familiar. When he alleged that he had been quite at his ease with the Chancellor and the Speaker of the House of Commons at that time, and could call on them at any hour, and remain to dinner or supper without being invited, we used to call to him, "Halt there, Laurie; if you don't know the boundary between truth and falsehood, you should draw the Iine between what is probable and what is not so." As, like a snowball, we gathered as we rolled along, he fixed himself upon us for the rest of the journey.

We set out in the morning after breakfast, that we might reach Langholm, twenty-two miles off, in time for dinner, and travelled over a beautiful pastoral country, eleven miles to the top of the ridge beyond which the waters run south, whereas before their course is north and east. The road had been finished some time before, and was so perfectly good and well laid out that in my open chaise I could keep at the trot both down and up the whole way. The first place we passed was the seat of Dr. Langlands, M.D., a very pleasing place, about a mile above Hawick on the Teviot; of late it was in possession of Lord Napier, and much improved by him, and is now bought by James Anderson, Esq., a younger brother of St. Germains. In a mile or two further we reached the fine seat of the family of Buccleuch, the Castle of Branxholm, which an ancestor of that family exchanged. When we got to the top of the ridge, we stopped to feed our horses at a rural inn, kept by a curious fellow called Rob Achison, with whom we had not conversed many minutes when we discovered the cause of his being reduced from the condition of an opulent farmer to that of the keeper of a mere halting-place to divide a long stage. Robert had been a Border rake or buck of the first head in his younger days, and to wit and humour, of which he had abundance, lie added a sufficient portion of address and impudence, which he carried with an air of careless indifference. He had eloquence enough, however, to make us both eat and drink in his house, for the first of which he was but ill provided; but he soon made us understand, by the scurrility which lie poured out against those who had passed his house without calling for something besides corn for their horses, how we should be treated for the entertainment of the next who came, so we took a sorry repast with Robert, and drank of his liquors.

The slope from this to Langholm is just eleven miles, and the road excellent; the country was exceedingly picturesque, though then without trees, and full of sheep, which, as the young Duke of Buccleuch and his Duchess were daily expected, had been taught to line the road daily through which they were to pass, that they might see wherein the riches of the land consisted. As it was now in the beginning of August, the fields had a fine variegated cloak of verdure; for as the ferns, or brackens, as they are called here, were now in perfection, and of a different shade from the grass, they looked like a large curtain or mantle of green silk damask.

We arrived in the evening at Langholm, where the village is situated at the confluence of the two streams of Ewes and Wauchope with the Esk, which from thence flows, after being almost doubled by the Liddel, through delightful scenery, to the Solway Firth, which with it makes the western boundary between England and Scotland.

It was too late to attempt to see the castle, so we sent immediately for John Dickie the minister, who was an old bachelor, and who had such a mixture of odd qualities in his composition, such as priggism and pedantry, with the affectation of being a finished gentleman, very sanctimonious in his manners, with a desire of being thought free and liberal in his sentiments; not without a portion of knowledge, but more proud of it than Dr. Bentley, or Purdie the schoolmaster. As Mrs. Carlyle had never seen him before, she was highly diverted with him; and having in a moment discovered all his weaknesses, she met them in so caressing and encouraging a manner that he would have leapt over the house to serve her; and before he left us at twelve to go home, he became her sworn knight-errant. To make her conquest complete over the little man, she would not let him go till a horse was got ready for an ostler to conduct him through the water. Laurie and Glen thought this carrying her coquetry too far, but Wight and I knew better; for she was of that turn of mind, that if anything had befallen the little man, as he had got enough of wine, and had no better seat than a clue on a horse, she would never have forgiven herself. With all his imperfections he was good-natured and social, which after a banquet never failed to appear. He had a young mare which he wished to sell, and was going to send it to be sold at Hawick or Jedburgh, when, hearing there was to be a fair at Carlisle next day, and that we were deliberating about going or not, when somebody happened to say that Carlisle was the best place, and that we would all go there;—Mrs. Carlyle immediately said, "I will consent to go if you will be so good as accompany us." The honest soul instantly yielded, and we all resolved to go, now amounting to five gentlemen and a lady, with only one servant.

We set out next morning, and had a very agreeable ride down the river Esk for seven or eight miles, through a valley finely covered with young plantations. We stopped at Longtown, where there is a fine bridge over the Esk, which has saved many a life which was annually lost in passing very dangerous fords of the river a mile or two lower down; and, crossing some sands in the channel of the Frith of Solway, where the traveller was frequently overtaken by the rapidity of the tide, we arrived at Carlisle before dinner, and found the town as much crowded as curious travellers could wish, as there was not only a great fair holding on this day, but the Judges were in town, and a set of players to entertain the company. The King's Arms was so much crowded that we were obliged to resort to the large dining-room, which was crowded like a coffeehouse. But as the company, consisting chiefly of country lads and lasses, were all to disperse in the evening, we were able to secure beds, which was the chief point in view.

After strolling about the town a while I attempted to go into the court-house, which was so much crowded and so hot that I only remained a few minutes in the outskirts, where I heard my friend Wedderburn pleading as well as he could under a severe hoarseness. We returned to the inn, where we found Governor Johnstone, and John Scotland, minister of Westerkirk, with our friends. Johnstone was employed in canvassing the citizens, and Scotland had come with a Dunfermline friend on purpose to see Mr. Wedderburn. The Governor told us of the players, and we all set out immediately to try for places, but it was so much crowded that we were disappointed, and obliged to return. Laurie, however, remained after the rest, when he had a quarrel with a very drunken squire of the name of Dacres, who had insulted him with foul language, which Laurie returned with a blow, forgetting that he was now in a country where a breach of the peace is much more dangerous. Dacres attempted to have him committed, but Laurie made his escape, and Johnstone having interfered and said it was only a drunken Scotch parson who had been riotous, and was ignorant of English laws, who had broken the peace, he got Dacres pacified, and we heard no more of it.

The Governor had promised to sup with us, and I proposed sending to Mr. Wedderburn; but Scotland said it was needless, as he had seen him, and found him preparing to go to bed, as he was very hoarse. I wrote him a note, however, telling him that Mrs. Carlyle and Wight and I were there, and that Governor Johnstone had promised to sup with us, and that I would infallibly cure his hoarseness before tomorrow morning. His answer was that he would be with us in half an hour. He was as good as his word, but was very hoarse. The supper was good enough, but the liquors were execrable—the wine and porter were not drinkable. We then made a bowl of the worst punch I ever tasted. Wedderburn said, if we would mix it with a bottle of the bad porter, it would be improved. We did as he directed, and to our surprise it became drinkable, and we were a jolly company. The counsellor did not forget the receipt to cure his hoarseness. This was nothing more than some castile soap shaven into a spoon and mixed with some white wine or water, so that it could be swallowed. This he took, and returned to us at nine next morning perfectly cured, and as sound as a bell.

Dickie having sold his mare, we returned by the road we came, and, passing one night at Hawick, and one at Galashiels, arrived at home with Wight next night, and found all well. It is remarkable that I remember very exactly most of the circumstances on going from home even on a long journey, but that on returning I can seldom find any trace of them on my memory, and all seems a blank. Is this owing to the imagination being fully occupied with the thoughts of home, which are always agreeable? Or is it owing to the eagerness and curiosity with which one begins a journey, and the rising hopes of new pleasures and amusements, and the drowsy and inactive state of the imagination as you return?

The young Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch were expected at this time to arrive in Scotland to take possession of their fine estate in the south, and their palace at Dalkeith as their chief residence. They were eagerly expected over all the country where we had been, great part of which, from Tweedside to the borders of Cumberland, was the property of that noble family. There had been a long minority, for this duke's grandfather had died in 1752, and his son, Lord Dalkeith, two years before him. The family had been kind to their tenants, and the hopes of the country were high that this new possessor of so large it property might inherit the good temper and benevolence of his progenitors. I may anticipate what was at first only guessed, but came soon to be known, that lie surpassed them all as much in justice and humanity as he did in superiority of understanding and good sense.

The Duke and Duchess, with Lady Frances Scott, the Duke's sister, arrived at Dalkeith in the beginning of September, where his Grace had never been before, being withheld by Charles Townshend, his father-in-law, lest he should become too fond of Scotland. This stratagem was defeated by the Duke's sagacity, for he discovered on his journey through his own great estate, from the marked attention of the people, that he would be a much greater man in this country, and would have a much more extensive range for his benevolence than he could possibly have in the south, where his own estates were small, and where there was such a number of more opulent lords, his rivals in all the attributes of true nobility.

In order to make the Duke and Duchess feel more impressively the attachment of their vassals and tenants in the south, I wrote a copy of verses on the birthday of the former, which I had copied in another hand, and sent on the morning of that day. It was some time before they could guess that I was the author ; and one of their tenants had for a while the credit of it. I had by good-luck truly predicted, by way of advice, what her Grace became, but no prediction could then reach the extent of her merit. The verses were sent to the Scots Magazine, where Dr. Gregory read them, and suspected me for the author. When I next saw him, he asked me, and I owned them, when he said they were very good—too good for the subject, for they would never act up to the strain of praise in that poem. "Do you know them, Doctor?" "No," answered he, "but Mrs. Montague does; and she says that, though very good young people, they have no energy of character, and will remain obscure and insignificant." "Mrs. Montague's line, then, is too short, my good Doctor: you may trust me to measure their depth, and you will live to see that her discernment on this occasion has failed her." Gregory, with many good qualities, had so much of the apothecary about him, that he did not think much of anybody who was not likely to frequent his shop. He knew that Smith would recommend both Cullen and Black to be their physician in ordinary rather than him. [For information about Cullen, Black, and the other eminent men of the medical school of Scotland often mentioned in these pages, it is fortunate that the Life of Cullen, begun by Dr. John Thomson, and continued by his son, has now been completed by Dr. Craigie, 2 vols. 8vo, 1859.—J. H. B.]

Between their arrival at Dalkeith and his Grace's birthday, the 13th of September, the Right Honourable Charles Townshend died, after an illness of a few days, of an inflammation in his bowels. This event obliged them to postpone the celebration of the birthday, when they were to have had an entertainment for all their friends. This sudden death affected the Duke and his sister very differently. She, who had been bred up under him from the fourth or fifth year of her age, and had found in him an enlightened instructor and a kind protector, felt all the grief which a dutiful child feels for an indulgent parent ; but the Duke, who had been very little at home during Mr. Townshend's marriage with his mother, and whose more ripened discernment had probably disclosed to him his father-in-law's defects as well as his shining qualities, was much less afflicted on this melancholy occasion, and was heard to say, a few days after time news, that though he sincerely regretted Mr. Townshend's premature death, yet to him it was attended with the consolation that it left him at liberty to choose his own line of life, for had Mr. Townshend survived lie might have been drawn into the vortex of politics much against his will. Such was the soundness of this young nobleman's mind at an early age, from whence a discerning observer might predict the excellence of that character which gradually evolved on his admiring countrymen.

In two or three weeks the day came when they were to see company, and when they assembled by cards about fifty ladies and gentlemen of their friends and the neighbourhood, of whom few indeed were ladies, as they were hardly yet acquainted with anybody. The fare was sumptuous, but the company was formal and dull. Adam Smith, their only familiar at table, was but ill qualified to promote the jollity of a birthday, and their Graces were quite inexperienced. The Duke, indeed, had been more than two years in France, and four months in London since he came home, but he was backward at that time to set himself forward, and showed a coldness and reserve which often in our superiors is thought to be pride. Had it not been for Alexander M`Millan, W.S., and myself, the meeting would have been very dull, and might have been dissolved without even drinking the health of the day. After that health and a few more toasts had gone round, and the ladies had moved, and M'Millan and his companions at a by--table had got into the circle, we got into spirits that better suited the occasion. The Duchess at that time was extremely beautiful; her features were regular, her complexion good, her black eyes of an impressive lustre, and her mouth, when she spoke, uncommonly graceful. The expression of her countenance was that of good sense and serenity; she had been bred in too private a way, which made her shy and backward, and it was some time before she acquired ease in company, which at last enabled her to display that superiority of understanding which led all the female virtues in its train, accompanied with the love of mirth, and all the graces of colloquial intercourse. Her person was light, though above the common height, but active and elegant.

Smith remained with them for two months, and then returned to Kirkcaldy to his mother and his studies. I have often thought since, that if they had brought down a man of more address than he was, how much sooner their first appearance might have been; their own good sense and discernment enabled them sooner to draw round them as familiars a better set of people of their own choosing, than could have been picked out for them by the assistance of an aide-de-camp.

By means of an established custom of their predecessors, they had two public days in the week, when everybody who pleased came to dine with them. But that on Thursday was soon cut off, and Saturday was their only public day. But it would have been far better if that day had been also abolished, and if, in place of that, they had taken to invited companies, which might have been well assorted, and might have prevented all that dulness, and even solemnity, which overclouded large companies little acquainted, and seldom capable of making a company of a score tolerably agreeable. I must aver, however, without pretending to uncommon discernment, that I soon discovered in both that superior understanding, and that uncommon degree of humanity, as well as the highest sense of probity and virtue, which have made them a blessing and honour to their country for many years past. For the Duke's uncommon abilities, as well as his public spirit, became ere long as conspicuous in the exercise of more honourable offices of trust, which fell on him unsought, as his unassuming and familiar manners made him appear a complete gentleman in all the intercourse of private life. The family, though rich and great, had long been in a state of obscurity through want of talents and long minorities. In this Duke was revived the character which Sir James Melville gave his renowned predecessor in Queen Mary's reign—" Walter Scot of Buccleugh, wise and true, stout and modest." ["Quhilk Lard of Bahclouch was a man of rare qualites, wyse, trees, stout, and modest.- MELVILLE's Memoirs, 240. - J.H.B.]

No two characters I ever have known are so free of defects as that noble pair, while each in their department displayed such talents and virtues as made their numerous descendants not only happy in themselves, but also trained them up in the habitual disposition to become blessings to all their own connections to the latest posterity.

The Duke's sister, Lady Frances, though far from handsome, or in any respect attractive in her person, though then only seventeen, showed the opening of that character which she has since so fully displayed as Lady Douglas. She had taste and knowledge in the belles-lettres, a pleasant vein of ridicule, without the least grain of malignity; for she, like her brother, was the very milk of human-kindness.

As I had been intimately acquainted with Charles Townshend, her father-in-law, who protected her from domestic tyranny, and had even opened her mind by his instructions, she took readily to me, and I soon became intimate with her, and kept up a correspondence with her, both in prose and verse, which conduced to our amusement. The prosperity and happiness of Lord Douglas's family, which consisted of three sons and one daughter, demonstrated the excellence of her domestic character. It was remarkable that she was the first female descendant of the Duchess of Monmouth and Buccleuch who was married.

I had been Moderator of the Synod in November 1766, and opened the Synod in May 1767 with a sermon, which was printed. The window-tax was now levied, which gave a serious alarm to the clergy: there was a standing committee of Assembly, which had hitherto done nothing effectual. As I had been the champion for resisting payment of the tax, I was obliged to bestir myself very much about it; and as Dr. Robertson was of opinion we ought to submit to it, I had uphill work with it.

(1768.)—Towards the end of January this year it was that Mrs. Carlyle and I accompanied her aunt and uncle to visit their son Walter Home, then a lieutenant in the 7th Regiment, and lying at Glasgow. Walter had a chum of the name of Mainwaring, a very agreeable young man. As Dr. Wight was now fully established in Glasgow, and had one of his sisters for his housekeeper, he was very hospitable and popular, and we met daily several of the Professors, who were able men, and had agreeable conversation,—such as Alexander Stevenson and John Millar. This last had even begun to distinguish himself by his democratical principles, and that sceptical philosophy which young noblemen and gentlemen of legislative rank carried into the world with them from his law-class, and, many years afterwards, particularly at the period of the French Revolution, displayed with popular zeal, to the no small danger of perversion to all those under their influence. I had a hint of this from Dr. Wight before 1782, when he died, who added, that though some sound heads might find antidotes to this poison before they went into the world, and see in the British constitution all that is valuable in a democracy, without its defects and faults, yet, as it was connected with lax principles in religion, there might be not a few of such a contexture of understanding as could not be cured. Millar lived to the end of the century. [Author of the once very celebrated Historical View of the English Government, and of Observations Concerning the Distinction of Ranks.—J. H. B.]

I met with a strong proof of what is contained in the above paragraph respecting Professor Millar a long time afterwards, when dining with Robert Colt, Esq., then residing at Inveresk. I don't exactly remember the year, but I think it was before the war of 1798. There was nobody with Mr. Colt but a brother-in-law of his, when we were joined by the late Sir Hew Dalrymple of North Berwick, who had dined in Edinburgh. After consenting to stay all night, Sir Hew said, "Colt, was not you a student of law for two years with Millar at Glasgow?" "Yes, I was," answered Mr. Colt. "Then," replied Sir Hew, "I find I am right; and as my Hew has been four years at St. Andrews, and seems now desirous of following the law, I have been advised to send him to Millar, and have come to consult you about it." "We'll talk about that coolly to-morrow morning, Sir Hew; in the mean time, give me your toast." I knew well the meaning of this reserve; and a few days afterwards meeting Mr. Colt, "Well," said I, "did you settle your friend Sir Hew's mind about sending his son to Glasgow?" "Yes," answered he, "and you'll hear no more of that project." This Mr. Colt was an able and a worthy man, but he was shy and reserved, and died, unknown but to a few, in the year 1797. He had overcome many disadvantages of his education, for he had been sent to a Jacobite seminary of one Elphinstone at Kensington, where his body was starved, and his mind also. ["The character of Mr. Elphinstone is to my knowledge most erroneous. He was a worthy and excellent man, an able scholar, and most attentive to his pupils, both as a teacher and as a guardian of their morals. Whatever were his political opinions his only care was to make his pupils good men and good subjects, and it was probably owing to the instruction and sound principles which he then imbibed that Mr. Colt attained that reputable character for which he is here justly praised." Note to original MS. by Colonel Alex. Ferguson, author of Henry Erskine and His Tinge, etc.] He returned to Edinburgh to college. He had hardly a word of Latin, and was obliged to work hard with a private tutor. At Glasgow, to be sure, he learned public law, but took in poison with it, which he had strength of understanding to expel, as well as to overcome many other disadvantages.

Lieutenant Walter Home, before the end of the American war, was major of the 42nd Regiment, was an able man and an excellent officer; he was the ablest of all the family, except Robert the clergyman, although his third brother Roddam, the admiral, got to a higher rank. By means of my old connections at Glasgow and Dr. Wight's friends, we were feasted and every way well entertained there. Nothing could surpass the satisfaction Mr. and Mrs. Home had in seeing their son so well received in the best society in Glasgow. In those days the members of the ministry, excepting a very few indeed, were the only people of liberal conversation in that city.

Drs. Blair and Robertson were at London this year during the time of the Assembly—the first to visit London for the first and only time in his life; the second to transact with his bookseller for his History of Charles V., Emperor of Germany and King of Spain, and to enjoy the fame of his former publication. Dr. Robertson was introduced to the first company in London, as all the people of fashion, both male and female, were eager to see the historian of Queen Mary, who had given them so much pleasure. He did not disappoint their expectation, for though he spoke broad Scotch in point of pronunciation and accent or tone, his was the language of literature and taste, and of an enlightened and liberal mind. Dr. Blair exhibited in a much narrower circle, for nothing of his having been yet published but his Dissertation on Ossian, he had raised but little curiosity; and excepting the family of Northumberland, a son of which, Lord Algernon Piercy, had been three years under his roof at the university, he hardly was known to any of the English nobility or gentry, and depended chiefly for his entertainment there on such literary people as he had seen at Edinburgh, or was introduced to by Dr. Blair of Westminster, or James M`Pherson, the translator of the Ossian. [His "Lectures on Rhetoric," as delivered to his class, though not then published, had obtained considerable colloquial celebrity. It was not until 1777 that he became famous by the publication of his Sermons.—J. H. B.]

Blair had taken charge of Lord Glasgow, the King's Commissioner, during the General Assembly, who, though he was a very able man, had so much distrust in himself that he could not compose his own speeches. This service was laid upon me, and I had much pleasure in the close communication which this gave me with his lordship, as it opened to me a near view of uncommon talents and exalted mind, of the service of which the world was in great measure deprived by the most insuperable diffidence and modesty.

I was a member of the Assembly this year, in which there was little business of any consequence. Henry Dundas, who was now well known there, took an attentive charge of it, and leaned on me as his best clerical assistant.


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